While Ken Griffey’s name certainly will be called Wednesday when the results of the Baseball Hall of Fame voting are announced, two other names will not – Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

Bonds, one of the greatest position players ever, and Clemens, one of the most dominant pitchers of his era, again won’t get the required 75 percent of votes needed for election.


Bonds and Clemens don’t deserve to be in – yet.

The reasoning is obvious, although not agreed upon; they were suspected users of performance-enhancing drugs. And we’re not just talking about hints and rumors, but years-long investigations, published reports, testimonies, a felony conviction (for Bonds) that has since been overturned, and a federal grand jury indictment and perjury trial (for Clemens) in which he was found not guilty.

Their careers are so muddied and so tainted. They want to be Hall of Famers, and I say not yet. (For the record, I am not a voter for the Hall of Fame.)

There are several ways to look at the voting. The Hall’s credentials for voting are not only based on ability and production, but “integrity, sportsmanship, character …”

How those character issues are defined makes voting a very gray area, except in the case of Pete Rose, who is banished from baseball for his gambling issues.

But for the rest of the tainted players, voters have no clear guidelines. As one voter, Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe, puts it, “every voter has his or her system/conscience.”

Shaughnessy didn’t vote for Bonds or Clemens, or anyone “who looks as if they were dirty.”

Voter Mike Silverman of the Boston Herald, on the other hand, did vote for Clemens and Bonds, writing that “I’ve declined the sheriff’s badge and judge’s robe when it comes to the morality of Hall of Fame nominees.”

Other voters, like national writers Ken Rosenthal (Fox) and Jerry Crasnick (ESPN), said they put Clemens and Bonds on their ballots for the first time.

I think it’s too soon to consider them.

One argument for their induction now is the legal one – that Bonds and Clemens have been cleared in the judicial system, and they never tested positive for PED use (although official testing did not begin until 2004).

But I don’t have to be a judge (or sheriff) to not want Bonds and Clemens in the Hall so soon.

My argument is less legal and more about family. Baseball people like to refer to themselves as a family (or at least a fraternity).

Well, in my own family, when there is wrongdoing there is consequence. You disrespect the family, you lose privileges (note the word privilege, not rights). When do you get those privileges back? When mom and dad feel it is time.

The analogy has its flaw because one reason for consequences is to teach a lesson, and I don’t think Bonds and Clemens have learned anything, except the regret of being found out. And I certainly don’t want to say voters should act like parents to Bonds and Clemens.

But voters do have a responsibility to the family, to the sport of baseball. Entrance into the Hall of Fame is a privilege earned. Is it time to say Bonds and Clemens have earned it?

Their statistics certainly make a strong case. And the sad thing is that the performances of Bonds and Clemens, before their alleged PED use, was already Hall-worthy.

But as I have written before, the stench of the scandal they reportedly participated in is still too fresh. When those two are inducted into the Hall of Fame, I want to be applauding, not holding my nose.

I’m not calling for banishment but more time, so we can eventually focus on the performance and not the scandal. Bonds and Clemens are eligible to be on the Hall of Fame ballot for six more years. They should be voted in.

Just not yet.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

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Twitter: ClearTheBases